West Ham United v Palermo

Hammers head to Sicily with it all to do after Andrea Caracciolo's 45th-minute strike gave Palermo a one-goal advantage to take into the UEFA Cup first round, second leg in a fortnight's time.

But following a frantic and furious Upton Park night, West Ham - with Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano playing leading roles - will take heart from the fact that they created enough second half chances to give the Italians food for thought, as they look to protect their vital away goal on home soil.

Alan Pardew made two changes from the side that drew with Aston Villa on Sunday.

And just four days after opting not to hand his Argentinian duo Premiership starts, the Hammers' boss named Tevez and Mascherano in place of the unfortunate Hayden Mullins and Marlon Harewood, for the club's 35th first-class European cup tie.

After seeing several Italian giants have their wings clipped for their involvement in the close-season Calciopoli scandal, Pards came into this game tipping Palermo to soar high in Serie A this time around.

Certainly, the Sicilians had got off to a flying start in their domestic curtain-raiser on Sunday, but after taking a 3-0 lead inside the opening 26 minutes, they were grateful to walk off at the final whistle with a 4-3 victory, after Rolando Biancho led the Reggina resistance with a defiant hat-trick.

Despite that win, coach Francesco Guidolin made five changes from the side that had clung on at the weekend as goalkeeper Alberto Fontana, Caracciolo, Mattia Cassani, David Di Michele and Francesco Parravicini each received call-ups.

With every home seat sold out, the Upton Park crowd needed no invitation to try and recreate one of those European glory nights of old as Mascherano formed a one-man shield in front of the back four and Tevez lined up on the left flank while top-scorer Bobby Zamora was asked to go it alone up front.

And it did not take long for the decibel levels to rise yet further as the heavy-handed Italians singled out Tevez for some special attention that saw Cassani booked for a cynical scythe on Argentinian artisan, after just four minutes.

But as the tackles continued to fly in Referee Stefan Johannesson curiously kept that yellow card under wraps until Nigel Reo-Coker was harshly cautioned for a grass-scorching slide on Parravicini on the half-hour mark.

In between, despite all of the tenacious Tevez's teasing and tormenting, few goal chances emerged from the congested midfield battleground.

Zamora came within a whisker of prodding home Lee Bowyer's inch-perfect cross into the six-yard box and then the supporting midfielder was only a stud away from sliding home Tevez's low centre into the danger zone.

At the other end, Di Michele scuffed across goal as the black and pink shirted Rosanero showed that they could threaten, too.

But as the half-hour mark passed, both goalkeepers found themselves getting busier as Aussie Mark Bresciano fired an 18-yarder into Roy Carroll's ribcage before the Northern Ireland stopper palmed Di Michele's glancing header around his left-hand post.

In reply, Anton Ferdinand nodded Lee Bowyer's corner over Fontana's right-hand angle and, on 42 minutes, the airborne Tevez looked set to open the scoring when he met Zamora's intelligent, deep low cross with a flying, side-footed effort but, somehow, the Palermo stopper managed to turn the ball aside at the expense of a corner.

As Tyrone Mears also tried his luck with a low 20-yarder, West Ham looked to be getting on top, but with just seconds of the half remaining, Aimo Diana's low, right-wing cross into the six-yard box was bundled home by the unmarked Caracciolo to give the Sicilians an interval lead and a costly away goal, as the home defence fruitlessly protested that the ball had gone out of play.

Just after the restart, the probing Tevez was ambushed by a quartet of Sicilian spoilers as Marco Pisano was booked and then Paul Konchesky climaxed the consequent free-kick with a 20-yard sizzler that flew just an inch or so past the base of Fontana's left-hand upright.

As the hour mark approached, however, only Carroll's forceful slide tackle on the breaking Caracciolo denied the Italian striker a second goal and from the resulting corner, the Hammers' 'keeper needed to be at his best to claim Cristian Zaccardo's powerful far post header.

That was the cue for the industrious Bowyer to be sacrificed in a bid to find renewed width in the shape of substitute Matthew Etherington.

Ferdinand sent another header over the Palermo crossbar and then Fontana bravely plucked the ball off Yossi Benayoun's boots before collapsing in pain and hurling it behind for a corner.

As West Ham went to take the flag-kick the irate Italians vented their anger, which culminated in a booking moments later for the disgusted Di Michele who took a triple swipe at the fleeing Zamora in his unsuccessful quest to get his man.

And the Palermo midfielder's frustration was compounded shortly afterwards, when he saw Konchesky nod his 25-yard free-kick off the line.

With just under a quarter-of-an hour left, Pards went for a last throw of the dice as he refreshed his attack with the introduction of Marlon Harewood and Carlton Cole for the tireless Tevez and Zamora.

Within seconds of his arrival Harewood, ten yards out, swept Benayoun's cross onto Fontana's left-hand post but, that was the closest West Ham would come to salvaging a draw in a furious finale and they now head to the Stadio Renzo Barbera in two weeks time needing to pull off their very own Italian job.